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Guatemala swears in homophobic new president who’s staunchly against marriage equality and LGBT rights

Patrick Kelleher January 15, 2020
Guatemala swears in homophobic new president who's staunchly against marriage equality and LGBT rights

Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty)

Alejandro Giammattei, who is against same-sex marriage and abortion, has been sworn in as president of Guatemala.

Giammattei was sworn in yesterday (January 14) following his surprise win in the presidential election of August 2019, the Washington Post reports. He replaced outgoing president Jimmy Morales and will hold office or a four-year term.

His election will likely not be welcomed by the country’s LGBT+ population, as Giammattei has spoken out against same-sex marriage in the past.

When asked in 2015 about same-sex marriage, he replied: “There is so much to solve in Guatemala that entering into that is counterproductive, that it is approved elsewhere does not mean that it is done here,” Prensa Libre reported.

Alejandro Giammattei was elected president of Guatemala in August 2019.

Giammattei – who is also a doctor – has also spoken out against abortion in the past, saying he is “a defender of life.”

The 63-year-old won the election last year for Vamos, a political party founded in 2017 by politicians, businessmen and military officers with a focus on battling poverty.

He promised yesterday to bring forward legislation that would declare street gangs terrorist groups and said he would promote the rule of law. He also committed to increasing employment.

There is so much to solve in Guatemala that entering into that is counterproductive, that it is approved elsewhere does not mean that it is done here.

Speaking after his election in August, Giammattei said: “It will be an immense honour to be president of this country that I love so much.

“We will rebuild Guatemala. I have no words to say how grateful I am.”

Giammattei also wants to reintroduce the death penalty to Guatemala – but he may have difficulty as his party did not win a majority in Congress.

LGBT+ rights have fallen far behind in the country.

Homosexuality has been legal since 1871 in Guatemala but LGBT+ people are not protected by discrimination laws. There is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Guatemala.

In January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that same-sex marriage is a human right, which set a binding precedent for Guatemala. The ruling prompted a number of lawmakers to introduce a bill that sought to explicitly ban same-sex marriage. The bills were struck down at a later stage.

Meanwhile, transgender people in Guatemala can legally change their name but cannot legally change their gender.

More: Alejandro Giammattei, Guatemala, president, same sex marriage

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